Microsoft received 238 gender discrimination and harassment complaints

Venture Capitalist: We need more women founders
Venture Capitalist: We need more women founders

Microsoft has received hundreds of harassment and discrimination complaints from female employees in recent years, according to court documents made public this week.

Women at Microsoft (MSFT) filed 238 complaints with the company's HR department between 2010 and 2016, including 108 complaints about sexual harassment and 119 about gender discrimination, according to a filing. There were also eight complaints of retaliation and three about pregnancy discrimination, it said.

The court documents are part of a gender discrimination lawsuit against Microsoft filed in 2015 by Katherine Moussouris, a computer security researcher who worked at the company from 2007-2014. She claims she was passed over for promotions while male colleagues, who were less qualified, were promoted.

Two other Microsoft employees, Holly Muenchow and Dana Piermarini, later joined the suit. The attorneys representing them are seeking class-action status for the case. No trial date has been set.

The lawsuit calls the number of harassment and discrimination complaints "shocking" and describes the response from Microsoft's employment relations investigations team as "lackluster."

In particular, the lawsuit says that only one of the 118 gender discrimination complaints was considered "founded" by the investigations team, known as ERIT.

Related: Silicon Valley finally faces a reckoning with sexism

In a statement provided to CNN, Microsoft said it has a "fair and robust system in place to investigate employee concerns and take appropriate action when necessary."

"Diversity and inclusion are critically important to Microsoft," the company said. "We want employees to speak up if they have concerns and we strive to make it easy for them to do so."

The claims in the lawsuit come at a time when the tech industry, like much of corporate America, is under scrutiny for its treatment of women in the workplace.

Uber was rocked by sexual harassment allegations last year. Top venture capitalists have resigned amid charges of harassment. And Google has found itself in the crosshairs of the Labor Department over gender pay disparities.

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